Located right at the base of the Rocky Mountains at 6,000 feet above sea level, US News ranks Colorado Springs #6 for Best Places to Live in the nation. In addition to the mountains, Colorado Springs is also in proximity to the Great Plains and has over nine thousand acres of parkland. This gives the region an abundance of wildlife.
Problematic wildlife is plentiful and includes raccoons, skunks, opossums, beavers, otters, armadillos, and bats, as well as numerous species of squirrels, mice, and rats. As Colorado Springs and its neighboring suburbs continue to expand, its wildlife habitats and resident critters are often displaced. Wildlife such as rodents, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks are reportedly thriving in this urban and suburban environment.
Raccoons are intelligent and agile mammals who adapt well to living amongst people. Known to eat almost anything from resident trash cans as well as pet food, they find attics, chimneys, and crawl spaces comfortable with easy access to ongoing meals.
Raccoons have the potential to carry rabies and other diseases and can become quite aggressive when confronted, especially if they are protecting their kits which are born between March and April.
Rodents such as rats and mice are extremely adaptable and fearless animals. Adept at climbing, jumping, and even swimming, they are the most common nuisance species in U.S. cities. They eat our food, nest in our homes, and reproduce profusely.
In addition to their ability to cause expensive damage in homes and businesses, they carry harmful diseases and parasites. Crawling through extensive pathways at night to get to food pantries, a home could have quite an infestation by the time one is seen.
Colorado has both ground squirrels and tree squirrels. Ground squirrels typically burrow in your yard while the Fox squirrel, Albert's squirrel, or pine squirrel are most likely to get into your attic and home. The Fox squirrel is the most common nuisance squirrel.
Squirrels are herbivores living on nuts, fruits, and seeds. While they tend to store their nuts in the ground, they like to be high up in trees where they are safer from predators.
Squirrels are most likely to enter your home to give birth. You'll notice them in the spring (January-April) and fall (August-September).
Like other rodents, squirrels have large front teeth that never stop growing. While this is ideal for opening nutshells, it can translate into extensive damage for homeowners or business owners who have squirrels in their attic, chimney, or basement.
Big brown, little brown, and Brazilian Free-tailed bats are a few of the most common bats in Colorado Springs. All three of these species are insectivorous, consuming a diverse and enormous amount of insects each night. All three roost in colonies, giving birth to one (sometimes twins) pup in the spring. The little brown bat is an endangered species and protected by the endangered Species Act.
While beneficial to the environment, they are considered a nuisance when they roost in buildings because of their potential to spread disease and parasites.
Voles, pocket gophers, prairie dogs, and Wyoming ground squirrels are the most common types of burrowing animals in Colorado that damage your yard. Black-tailed prairie dogs are prevalent in the Colorado Springs region.
Each spring, when a mother prairie dog pushes her young out of the burrow, these new adults need to find their own home in a shrinking habitat. Some simply create a new burrow at the edge of their home colony, while others travel farther away.
It is legal to trap and relocate prairie dogs to other locations with a permit from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. If being moved to another county the approval from that receiving county is needed as well.
Relocation is preferred over killing them because they are valued for their ecological contribution as they attract hawks and eagles, and there is growing advocacy for protecting these animals that are being pushed out by urbanization.
Prairie dogs sometimes carry a type of flea that causes plague that could endanger domestic dogs and cats if they are in close proximity to a colony.